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Lee Kong Chian School of Business


The role of gender in negotiation

Elizabeth Layne PADDOCK
Singapore Management University,

L. J. Kray

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PADDOCK, Elizabeth Layne and Kray, L. J.. The role of gender in negotiation. (2011). Negotiation Excellence: Successful Deal Making.
229-245. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
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Running  head:  GENDER  AND  NEGOTIATION   1  

The Role of Gender in Negotiation

E. Layne Paddock
Organizational Behavior and Human Resources
Singapore Management University
50 Stamford Road #05-01
Singapore, Singapore 178899
Phone: +65 6828 0754
Fax: +65 6828 0777


Laura J. Kray
Management of Organizations Group
Haas School of Business
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
Phone: 1-510-642-0829
Fax: 1-510-643-1412
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At the negotiation table, does being male or female matter? This question has important
implications, especially if the answer is “yes,” as women and men negotiate over larger (e.g.,
compensation, condominium purchases) issues, as well as everyday issues (e.g., weekly work schedules,
children’s bedtimes). We examine the idea of gender, identify the answer to whether gender within
negotiation matters, and draw on previous empirical and theoretical reviews and more contemporary
research to explain why and when gender matters in negotiation. We conclude this chapter with practical
advice related to gender in negotiations.

N = 92
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Authors’ Biographies

E. Layne Paddock

Layne Paddock is an Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Lee Kong Chian School of
Business, Singapore Management University. Her research focuses on conflict and emotion, often
focusing on the role that gender plays in intra-individual and inter-individual situations related to work
and home domains.

Laura J. Kray

Laura Kray is the Warren E. & Carol Spieker Professor of Leadership at the Walter A. Haas School of
Business, University of California at Berkeley. Kray earned her doctorate in social psychology and she
applies this lens to her work on gender and negotiations, counterfactual thinking, and decision making. In
2008, her work on gender and negotiations was recognized with the “Most Influential Paper” award from
the Conflict Management Division of the Academy of Management.
Running  head:  GENDER  AND  NEGOTIATION   4  

The Role of Gender in Negotiation

Seemingly every few months a major media source highlights the salary differential between men
and women, a difference apparent in nations around the world. Just recently Bernard (2010) wrote about
this gender pay gap, pointing out that women in the United States earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by
men. She highlighted the multiple explanations frequently used to explain this gap (e.g., women’s time
away from the workforce for childcare and resulting lesser experience than men, men’s employment in
higher paying industries than women) and that these explanations together do not fully explain why
women earn less than men. She also, however, included a reason less frequently cited in the popular press
until recently, but which is recognized in research as an important explanation of the gender pay gap: how
gender impacts compensation negotiations. Compensation negotiations are similar in many ways to other
types of negotiations. Thus, it is not surprising that our understanding of gender in compensation
negotiations is informed by research relating gender to the negotiation process more broadly.
Systematic research focusing on gender’s role in the negotiation process has grown, especially
over the last decade, and evidence has accumulated to illustrate the nuanced ways gender impacts
negotiations (Kray, 2007; Kray, Galinsky, & Thompson, 2002; Kray & Thompson, 2005; Kray,
Thompson, & Galinsky, 2001). In this chapter we address how gender is conceptualized, why gender
impacts negotiations, and when gender is likely to have a stronger impact on the negotiation process.
Understanding these factors should help negotiators achieve stronger negotiation outcomes, for women
and men alike.
Defining Gender
We define gender in a manner consistent with negotiation research. Specifically, a distinction
exists between sex, which biologically categorizes males and females, and gender, which includes both
cultural and psychological markers of sex. Negotiation research typically gathers data by sex (indicating
negotiators as male or female), and even two decades ago this was the most frequently tested individual
difference in negotiation research (Walters, Stuhlmacher, & Meyer, 1998). Even when measuring sex,
however, research typically explains findings using a theoretical rationale that focuses on gender. For
example men and women’s actions are explained by prescriptive stereotypes dictating how they should
act. As a result of this focus on gendered explanations, researchers suggest the term gender rather than sex
be used in negotiation and gender research (Kray & Babcock, 2006). We use the term gender in this
As will become evident, this term makes sense given a second distinction related to gender – the
idea of gender roles (e.g., Bem, 1974). To understand gender roles ask yourself how much you identify
with each of the following traits: Do you consider yourself “analytical,” “competitive,” “dominant,” or
someone who “has leadership abilities”? Now, consider the following traits: Do you consider yourself
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“sensitive to the needs of others,” “warm,” “compassionate,” or “gentle”? Quickly you can assess whether
the first versus second set of traits better reflects you, and this should give you an idea of your own
gender identity. These questions measure the extent to which you are masculine (high on the first set of
items), feminine (high on the second set of items), or androgynous (high on both).
The idea of gender roles is important for understanding gender in negotiation for two reasons.
First, gender roles highlight an important point about making comparisons among groups based on
individual differences such as country (e.g., Spanish or Chinese) or gender (men or women): Sometimes a
man is more different from other men than he is from women, and the same is true for some women. Just
think about the men you know; do they differ from each other in terms of gender roles? In your mind
identify a woman who differs a lot from others of the same gender; maybe it is you. Because she violates
aspects of the traditional feminine gender role this woman may upset a negotiation counterpart who is
expecting that she will behave “like a woman should act.” This is because gender roles typify what is
expected of men and women. As will become evident in the following sections, these expectations, and
associated perceptions and behaviors, play an important role at the negotiation table.
Do Gender Differences Exist at the Bargaining Table?
Nearly four decades ago in 1975, in the first textbook on negotiation, authors Rubin and Brown
included a section about women’s versus men’s performance; they argued that men and women held
different foci at the bargaining table. Men’s focus on maximizing their own earnings meant that they
either competed or cooperated, depending on the situation. Women, on the other hand, held an
interpersonal orientation and focused on relationships. These claims – for gender differences at the
bargaining table – stood without much empirical evidence for decades. In fact, with few exceptions,
contemporary negotiation textbooks continue to overlook the role of gender in negotiation. Possible
explanations for this omission range from an apparent belief that gender accounts for little variance in
negotiation outcomes (a view espoused by texts emphasizing cognitive biases driving negotiation
outcomes; e.g., Bazerman & Neale, 1992) to a lack of definitive answers about gender’s role at the
bargaining table. However, given the surge of scholarly interest in this topic over the last 15 years, a body
of research now explains gender’s role in negotiation clearly and convincingly.
One particularly important empirical advance is the recognition that both gender and context must
be considered (Kray et al., 2002; Kray & Thompson, 2005; Kray et al., 2001; Stuhlmacher & Walters,
1999; Walters et al., 1998). Prior to this acknowledgment, the majority of research focused on gender in
isolation and across contexts. This initial work left many vital questions unanswered because of
discrepant findings across studies. Some individual papers show no gender differences at the bargaining
table and others show significant gender differences. Helpful in summarizing these seemingly discrepant
empirical findings are meta-analyses, which statistically combine disparate research findings across
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studies. Meta-analyses suggest the answer to our original question of whether gender differences exist is
yes – men and women do show two reliable gender differences related to negotiations. First, men’s
behavior on average is more competitive than is women’s behavior (Walters et al., 1998). Second, men’s
economic negotiation outcomes are typically better than are women’s economic outcomes (Stuhlmacher
& Walters, 1999). Notably, however, these two gender differences are statistically small in size, meaning
the simple effect of gender on negotiation outcomes does not help us explain much of the variance in
negotiation outcomes.
At first blush, the small effects reported in these meta-analyses suggest gender’s role in
negotiation is unimportant. However, this is an incorrect conclusion for three main reasons. First, gender
effects remain important because even small gender differences are likely to compound over time (Kray,
2007). Martell, Lane, & Emrich’s (1996) computer simulation of the impact of gender bias illustrates this
point. Starting with a group of equal numbers of men and women, they introduced a 5% gender bias
(against women) in evaluations. After multiple rounds of promotions, women accounted for only 29% of
the top-level positions. So, what if the gender bias was less? Even introducing a 1% bias in evaluations
resulted in women holding only 35% of the top-level positions. Likewise, negotiators facing a real-world
salary negotiation showed that relatively minor gender differences in initiating a negotiation at the
beginning of an individual’s career can result in substantial lost income over a lifetime, as a lower starting
salary results in a smaller base on which interest can grow and subsequent raises and bonuses are based,
meaning income differences compound over time (Babcock & Lashever, 2003). Clearly even small
gender effects, when aggregated over time, can have dramatic and detrimental effects. In negotiations,
these negative effects are most often reflected in women’s poorer economic outcomes (Stuhlmacher &
Walters, 1999).
Focusing solely only on economic outcomes, however, is limiting and likely fails to capture the
actual range of gender effects in negotiations. This results in the second reason it is unwise to ignore
gender effects: we have not yet studied this topic completely. Whereas research on this topic is no longer
in its infancy, it remains in its “adolescence”. It made sense for earlier meta-analyses to focus on
economic gain (whether in points or money) because it was and still remains the most commonly assessed
negotiation outcome (Kray & Babcock, 2006). However, more subjective negotiation outcomes may
better represent women’s negotiation performance. Further, recent research focusing on subjective
negotiation outcomes suggests this broader set of outcomes not only matter but may be better predictors
of long-term negotiation satisfaction (Subjective Value Inventory, Curhan, Elfenbein, & Xu, 2010).
Understanding gender as it relates to economic and subjective outcomes would better represent the actual
range of gender effects.
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Third, considering gender in isolation is different than considering the effects of gender in
combination with other variables considered at the same time (e.g., gender and status). We now know
that, by collapsing across situational factors, we underestimate the impact of gender in negotiations. In
certain situations gender plays a large role, whereas in other situations gender does not matter as much or
at all. Understanding why gender differences exist will help us to identify when gender effects will be
more or less pronounced. Thus, we now turn to the question of why gender matters.
Why do gender differences exist?
Explanations for why gender differences (or similarities) exist in negotiations differ, depending
on which of multiple approaches researchers take; researchers have focused on the negotiation context,
the negotiator, the counterpart, and specific interactions between these variables (Kray & Thompson,
2005). Related to each of these approaches, expectations of men and women help explain gender
differences in negotiation.
Expectations are associated with individuals’ status and power. As Ridgeway (2001) explains,
status is a sign of greater social significance and general competence. Status is defined by the extent to
which an individual is respected by others (e.g., Magee & Galinsky, 2008). Status is distinct from power,
which is an individual’s control of resources and often conferred by the roles an individual holds,
including societal and organizational roles. However, often the terms are used interchangeably. When
men and women have equal power in negotiations (e.g., their alternatives to the potential negotiated
agreement are equal), they are equally effective at leveraging their negotiation power (Kray, Reb,
Galinsky, & Thompson, 2004). Men and women typically differ in their status and power both generally
and within negotiations specifically. In general status differs based on gender, with individuals
associating greater trait competence with men than women (Ridgeway, 2001). Likewise, within
negotiations traits typically associated with men and not with women are related to being a competent
negotiator. In fact, Kray (2007) referred to the traits typically associated with each gender – gender
stereotypes – as the “linchpin connecting gender to negotiating effectiveness.”
What exactly are gender stereotypes then? Gender stereotypes reflect the gender roles we
outlined earlier. Men are rational, assertive, and highly protective of their own interests (Williams & Best,
1982). In contrast, women are passive, emotional, and accommodating of others’ needs. It takes little to
activate gender stereotypes. For example, stereotype threat studies of math ability show it takes as little as
being presented with a “gender” checkbox prior to a difficult exam to create performance decrements for
individuals threatened by a stereotype (Brown & Josephs, 1999). Research suggests group contexts where
women are sole members of minority groups promote stereotype threat (e.g., Roberson, Deitch, Brief, &
Block, 2003). Imagine then what women of Fortune 500 boards feel, given women’s under-representation
on such boards (Catalyst, 2009). Of course, the minority status of women on Fortune 500 boards is not
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unique; women worldwide are under-represented within upper-management. Further, gender stereotypes
are consistent across nations (Williams & Best, 1982).
Stereotypic traits associated with men are also associated with being an effective negotiator. As
authors Kolb and Williams (2000, p. 28-29) note, “the effective negotiator… turns out to look remarkably
like a man: independent, self-confident, active, objective, and unruffled by pressure. Thus, men are often
perceived as better negotiators than women.” As Kray and Thompson (2005) summarize, attributes
associated with being an effective negotiator include “strong,” “dominant,” “assertive,” and “rational” –
all attributes associated with males. In contrast, attributes associated with being a weak negotiator include
“weak,” “submissive,” “accommodating,” and “emotional” – all attributes associated with females. More
recent research focuses on additional traits associated with women and which are also disadvantageous in
negotiations. For example, Kray (2010) focused on the gullibility component of the female stereotype,
which suggests that women are more gullible or naïve than men (Bem, 1974; Prentice & Carranza, 2002).
Presuming women are more gullible, deceiving women should be easier and thus more frequently
attempted. Consistent with this hypothesis, in a buyer-seller real estate negotiation, women sellers were
deceived more than were male sellers. This research makes clear that multiple aspects of gender
stereotypes impact how negotiators are treated.
Given that negotiation is a task in which masculine stereotypes are positively associated, gender
stereotypes easily become activated when individuals negotiate (Miles & Clenney, 2010). That being said,
regardless of their level of cognitive accessibility, gender stereotypes have more of an impact in some
situations than in others. Researchers have identified that contextual cues are important because they
distinguish between strong and weak situations (Mischel, 1977). In strong situations, individual difference
variables like gender play less of a role. In contrast, in weak situations gender plays a larger role. For
example, when negotiation issues are unclearly defined, a weak situation exists and gender impacts the
negotiation more, meaning gender effects should be larger. In contrast, if negotiation issues are clearly
defined, a strong situation exists and gender should play less of a role, meaning gender effects are smaller.
This idea of weak and strong situations was tested in the research of Bowles and colleagues (Bowles,
Babcock, & McGinn, 2005). They had career service professionals rate 13 industries in which 525 MBA
students took jobs as either high-or low- ambiguity negotiation situations. In low-ambiguity situations
(i.e., strong situations), MBA students were able to find specific information about salaries, so they better
knew what salary to negotiate. In high-ambiguity industries (i.e., weak situations), MBA students were
unsure of what salary to request. Results show no gender differences in the low-ambiguity context; when
students knew how much to ask, men and women obtained similar salary amounts. However, in high-
ambiguity situations women accepted salaries 10% lower than those taken by men. When the context was
weak (ambiguous), gender played a larger role in negotiators’ economic outcomes.
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In weak contexts, gender stereotypes especially impact negotiations if the stereotypes are more
salient. Stereotypes are more salient when negotiators carry gendered associations (e.g., the sex role
stereotypes we discussed earlier) or if the context is gendered (Bowles & McGinn, 2008). The context can
be oriented such that it is masculine, feminine or androgenous. Organization contexts such as upper-level
management are often male-dominated and masculine, which is related to the often-documented male
advantage in negotiations (Kray & Thompson, 2005). Ayres and Siegelman (1995) provide an example of
this within the male-associated context of car dealerships. They had women and men actors follow the
same script to inquire about purchasing a car. Price quotes received by women were significantly higher
than those received by men, a pattern of gender discrimination by car salespeople that placed women at a
disadvantage for negotiating a car. Now consider negotiations related to traditionally female-stereotyped
roles such as negotiating for aspects of the home domain (e.g., for childcare). Stuhlmacher and Walters
(1999) suggested in such tasks male negotiators may not have an advantage, and empirical research
supports this, showing no gender differences in negotiations of childcare (Miles & LaSalle, 2008). That
the task occurs in a female-stereotyped role may be enough to justify men’s – and women’s – competence
in related negotiations (Miles & Clenney, 2010). Finally, in specific situations there may be no
predetermined gender expectation. For example, a recent study of lawyers suggests women negotiators
are viewed similarly to their male counterparts; it may be that, at least when lawyers participate in
negotiations, the role of lawyer supersedes gender roles (Schneider, Tinsley, Cheldelin, & Amanatullah,
2010). Even these authors are careful to note, however, that this effect may not generalize from specific
legal case negotiations to more general aspects of being a female lawyer.
More often than not, women are viewed as less competent negotiators than men. Aware of the
stereotype and the associated disadvantage, women negotiators may experience stereotype threat (Steele,
1997), which refers to the concern individuals feel when faced with a situation that may confirm a
negative stereotype about a group to which they belong. Kray, Thompson, and Galinsky’s (2001) study
shows the impact of stereotype threat in buyer-seller negotiations. One group of negotiators was told the
task was indicative of their actual negotiation ability, a focus predicted to introduce doubt (stereotype
threat) for women. The second group was told the negotiation was an exercise designed to introduce core
negotiation concepts and to promote learning (no stereotype threat). Experiencing stereotype threat,
women in the first group did worse than men. In contrast, women’s performance in the second group did
not differ from men’s. The content of the stereotype also matters (Kray et al., 2002). Whereas in less
carefully controlled environments, including the real world, stereotypically female traits are generally
linked to poor negotiation performance, multiple traits considered to be important in negotiation success
are feminine in nature. Thus, it is possible to emphasize that either feminine traits or masculine traits lead
to poorer negotiation performance, especially in more controlled situations. Kray and colleagues did just
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this and found that, when the link between stereotypically feminine traits and good negotiation
performance were emphasized, women outperformed men.
Given that people typically link stereotypically masculine traits to negotiation success (Kray et
al., 2001), in the real world stereotype threat often results in women’s lower negotiation performance. In
part this is because stereotype threat can reduce individuals’ goals (Kray et al., 2002). In negotiations,
men tend to set higher goals than women. For example, Bowles and colleagues (2005) found that male
buyers set goals that were 9.8% higher than women’s. Setting high goals in negotiation is very important
because goals mediate the relationship between stereotype activation and performance. Activated
stereotypes hurt women’s negotiation performance by lowering the goals set by women (Kray et al.,
2002). Lower goals often translate into lower performance. For example, in a study of compensation men
set goals 5% higher than women set them, despite understanding the negotiation situation equally
(Stevens, Bavetta, & Gist, 1993). By the end of the negotiation, men outperformed women. Notably,
negotiators focused on a high goal make higher first offers and achieve better outcomes (Galinsky &
Mussweiler, 2001; Galinsky, Mussweiler, & Medvec, 2002).
Facing stereotype threat, can female negotiators overcome the associated negative outcomes?
Yes, and they can do so by working to disprove the stereotype. We know that people psychologically
react when they perceive a threat to their behavioral freedoms, often pushing against the perceived barrier
(Brehm, 1966). Faced with the negative implications of a stereotype, people show stereotype reactance.
Within negotiations women show stereotype reactance when reminded explicitly of stereotypes (Kray,
Thompson, & Galinsky, 2001). Negotiators reminded only of factors associated with performance in
negotiations, such as being “relational and assertive” and demonstrating “a regard for [one’s] own
interests throughout the negotiation, rather than being emotional, passive, and overly accommodating,”
showed signs of stereotype threat; women underperformed when compared to men. In contrast,
negotiators reminded of all of this and of gender stereotypes (that personality differs between genders and
that “male and female students have been shown to differ in their negotiation performance”) showed signs
of stereotype reactance; women outperformed the men. In fact, just being reminded of sexist remarks
endorsing gender stereotypes by a university authority figure – remarks not specific to negotiation – are
enough to encourage stereotype reactance at the bargaining table (Kray, Locke, & Haselhahn, 2010). So,
what explains women’s better performance in the stereotype reactance group? At least two factors do:
setting higher first offers and expectations for performance at the bargaining table (Kray et al., 2010).
First offers are important because they anchor the negotiation (Galinsky & Mussweiler, 2001). When
women are exposed to the blatant endorsement of gender stereotypes, they tend to give more assertive
first offers. These assertive first offers provided an advantage through the entire negotiation process.
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Women faced with stereotypic remarks also set higher expectations for themselves than men did, and the
women’s higher expectations became self-fulfilling.
Of course, negotiators do not act individually, and we know that expectations shape both the
behavior of the expectancy holder and his or her interaction partner (Snyder & Swann, 1978). The
implication is that negotiators and their negotiation counterparts enter negotiations with expectations.
Consider an example of the resulting dynamics: faced with a female negotiator, a male negotiator may
expect weakness consistent with a feminine stereotype. Based on this expectation, the counterpart treats
the female negotiator in a condescending manner. Perceiving this condescending manner she may find it
hard to concentrate on the negotiation, resulting in her inability to fully understand all of the issues within
the negotiation and how they might be optimally packaged in an integrative agreement. Clearly,
expectations matter to the negotiator and negotiation counterpart.
The role of expectations in counterpart’s reactions is especially apparent when negotiators deviate
from expectations. Returning to the above example, what would happen if the female negotiator made an
assertive first offer that was incongruent with what the negotiation counterpart expected of a female
negotiator? Research indicates he likely would dislike her. Counterparts’ negative responses to behaving
in a counter-stereotypic fashion can take the form of social and economic reprisals – termed a backlash
effect (Rudman, 1998). This backlash effect is apparent in organizations broadly. For example, women
who are more successful at stereotypically male tasks are more personally derogated than men, which
then impacts resource allocation at work (Heilman, Wallen, Fuchs, & Tamkins, 2004). Likewise, research
shows men who violate gender norms are viewed as more ineffectual and given less respect than women
(Heilman & Wallen, 2010). Backlash is also apparent in negotiations. In compensation negotiations
dominance is required. Dominant behavior is associated with men and directly contradicts the warmth or
friendliness expected from women, and thus more backlash is experienced by women who initiated
compensation negotiations than men (Bowles, Babcock, & Lai, 2007). Further, when the gender of the
person penalizing is included, men only penalized women negotiators and women penalized both men
and women for initiating compensation negotiations. This is consistent with evidence showing higher-
status individuals (men) penalize other higher-status individuals (men) less than lower-status individuals
(women) penalize them (Bowles & Gelfand, 2010).
These findings suggest that it is not always good advice for women to act like men. Acting both
masculine (competent) and feminine (nice) simultaneously may help mitigate backlash in contexts that do
not include issues of dominance; however, it does not seem to work within negotiations, which inherently
require dominance (Bowles et al., 2007). There are, however, ways women may escape backlash. Women
can hold a socially validated high-status role with clear role expectations. They can also communicate
concerns in a gender-role consistent way.
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Recall that evidence suggests female lawyers do not experience backlash when negotiating
(Schneider et al., 2010). Their externally-conferred, high-status position of lawyer may mean female
lawyers’ negotiation behavior is not seen as challenging existing status ranks; they already have high
status granted to them by others. There are also clear normative behaviors expected of these women based
on their occupational role. Finally, advocating on behalf of another person is consistent with gender
stereotypes that dictate women show a high concern for others. In effect, it may be that their occupational
expectations promote assertiveness in negotiations.
Additionally, women may lessen or avoid backlash by communicating their concerns in a way
that is feminine (i.e., focused on the collective) rather than masculine (i.e., focused on self-interest).
Evidence shows that women request more salary in response to a hypothetical compensation negotiation
when requesting for another person than for themselves (Wade, 2001). What is the reason for this
difference? Amanatullah and Morris (2010) suggest negotiators’ foci relate to the backlash they anticipate
and their research results support this assertion. When women negotiate for themselves, they anticipate
backlash and lower their level of assertiveness, using fewer competing tactics. When women advocate for
another, women do not expect backlash and do not alter their assertive behavior, resulting in better
outcomes. Thus, it is possible one way women may lessen or avoid backlash in negotiations is to behave
in ways that are both competent and focused on others. However, given that only minimal research exists
showing this solution, future research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of this strategy.
How Can Gender Effects be Reduced?
In concluding, we suggest several strategies to mitigate gender effects in negotiation. These
include negotiators making sure they ask for what they want, taking care to avoid self-handicapping
behaviors, and reacting to negative and focusing on positive stereotype elements with negotiations.
Do not avoid negotiating in the first place: Ask for what you want. Negatively stereotyped
individuals, such as women, may avoid participating in negotiations. Whereas some studies show no
differences between women and men in willingness to negotiate salary increases, at least some evidence
suggests women ask less often. Think about what you would do: you perform work for money and expect
you will be paid $10. Then you are told “Here’s $3. Is $3 OK?” Now, think about a slightly different
situation. You do the same work for money and expect you will be paid $3, you are paid $3, and then also
asked “Here’s $3. Is $3 OK?” Small and colleagues (Small, Gelfand, Babcock, & Gettman, 2007) did
exactly this and found that in the former situation while most people accept the $3, males were more
likely than females to request more money. These results changed depending on how the situation was
described. When this exchange was framed as “negotiating for more money,” even more males asked for
more money; however, when the exchange was framed as “asking for more money,” the gender
difference disappeared. Apparently, gender connotations are particularly strong for the task of
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negotiating. This research may help explain the consistent finding that men receive higher starting salaries
and career advancement than women (Bowles & McGinn, 2008): regardless of the way the situation is
framed, they ask. Interestingly, within compensation negotiations it may be women ask, but often ask for
different things: women are more likely to ask for job components including work and travel schedules,
notably factors that relate more closely than some other job components to household responsibilities
(Bohnet & Greig, 2007). These different forms of compensation relate to others, thus following the
explanation given earlier that women may be willing to ask for these forms because they anticipate less
In fact, across situations both men and women need to ask for what they want. A woman who
finds it difficult to ask might consider altering her perspective and advocating for others – family, friends,
clients, a work team, or other women overall – rather than herself. As Bowles states, “When a woman
negotiates persuasively for higher compensation, she clears the path for other women to follow” (Bernard,
2010). Men are already asking, even when the situation is framed as a negotiation. Nonetheless, women
and men should remember, for both themselves and others, to ask.
Do not self-handicap: Work at it. When stereotypes are activated in a situation, especially a
salient situation in which an individual desires to avoid critical evaluation, it may lead an individual to
self-handicap. Rather than try but have poor results, negatively stereotyped individuals may put forth little
effort, providing themselves with a more palatable explanation for their poor performance (Keller, 2002).
It is easy to see how someone who puts forth little effort in preparing for and carrying out a negotiation
does poorly. Preparation is one critical aspect of negotiation. The ongoing development of alternatives
provides negotiators with a stronger best alternative to a negotiated agreement (i.e., BATNA). Generation
of alternatives may help in part because they allow women to feel less dependent on the other party and
thus increasing their willingness to walk away from the table (Kray, 2007). Kray et al. (2004) showed that
men and women with strong BATNAs were equally effective at leveraging them at the bargaining table.
Once an individual has entered into a negotiation, she should avoid falling into the trap of self-
handicapping. By directing her efforts towards careful preparation and ongoing generation of alternatives,
she will at best achieve high negotiation outcomes and at worst gain practice, which will make her a
better negotiator.
Be aware of stereotypes: React to the negative and focus on the positive. As we have
discussed, stereotypes are pervasive and impact negotiations. Understanding that gender stereotypes
impact negotiations and the ideas of stereotype threat and reactance are first steps to mitigating the impact
of negative gender stereotypes on negotiators.
Consistent with negotiations research, we have focused in this chapter on the negative
ramifications of gender stereotypes for women and suggested individuals be aware of negative
Running  head:  GENDER  AND  NEGOTIATION   14  

stereotypes and react to them when negotiating. While not faced with the negative stereotypes women are
faced with, men negotiators too should be aware of the potentially negative consequences of their
gendered behavior at the bargaining table. This point is highlighted by recent research on ethical
judgments (Kray, Haselhuhn, & Schweitzer, 2010). Women’s greater concern with their counterparts may
mean women are less biased by their own goals than are men. In contrast, men’s greater pragmatism,
evidenced by more egocentrism and instrumentalism, results in more leniency in judging ethically
ambiguous actions than are women. Thus, both women and men should be aware of gender within
Further, emphasizing the positive aspects of gender stereotypes may help women at the
bargaining table. For example, women are associated with being both passive and empathetic. While
being passive often has negative connotations, being empathetic does not. Emphasizing the positive – in
this case women’s empathy – results in more assertive goals and higher expectations and ultimately
higher performance at the bargaining table. For example, recall when Kray et al. (2002) emphasized
positive stereotype aspects, women outperformed men in a negotiation task. Further, they did so despite
the fact that the task was framed as diagnostic of negotiators’ core abilities, which is typically a trigger of
stereotype threat. Focusing on the positive aspects of gender stereotypes helps to build confidence, and
thus improving performance, for men and women alike.
Running  head:  GENDER  AND  NEGOTIATION   15  

Gender does impact negotiation, with women often at a disadvantage at the negotiation table
relative to men. However, this difference is not set in stone; instead it is situation-specific. While
discussion of gender differences extends back to the first negotiation text, systematic research on gender
and negotiation is rather segmented. Whereas much of early research focuses on the focal negotiator, in
the past decade research theoretically grounded in stereotypes has helped to integrate the focal negotiator
with other perspectives (including the negotiation counterpart and situation). This research offers
suggestions for individuals entering into important negotiations; careful consideration of these should
help mitigate gender differences within negotiation.

N == 5196 (of 5000 with minimal, but some flexibility)

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